"There were some issues early on with women feeling as though they hadn't figured out what their role was going to be on the senior team at the White House," Jarrett said in the interview.
These particular tensions are among those highlighted in a controversial new book about the Obama White House by journalist Ron Suskind, Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President.
The book is based on more than 700 hours of interviews with senior officials and the president himself. It quotes top officials who describe a difficult work environment for women, among other tensions at the White House.
In the book, former White House communications director Anita Dunn is quoted as saying, "this place would be in court for a hostile workplace.... Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women."
The White House has pushed back on the book ahead of its official release, with press secretary Jay Carney and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner citing what they said were inaccuracies.